Blue skies, snow-capped mountains and the smell of freshly cut grass. It was a perfect day for the fourth annual T.J. Ward Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament at Blackstone Country Club in Aurora, Colo.
Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward doesn’t just lay it all out there on the gridiron. He puts 100% effort into his foundation, too.
The seven-year pro and Super Bowl winner has sculpted an organization that enhances the lives of youth by supporting programs that provide tools to empower underprivileged communities from Oakland to Denver, and beyond.
The focus is on socioeconomic, educational and physical needs, meaning various programs that cultivate education, physical fitness and health get a boost from Ward and his creation.
Among one of the programs his foundation supports is Purpose2Play’s very own On Deck Sports Journalism program which offers teens the chance to interview athletes and tell their stories using the written word.
“This is my biggest money-maker of the year,” Ward said of his golf tournament. “All the money that’s raised goes to my football camps, my holiday giveaways and to other youth development organizations. Oh, and my mentorship program, too.”
His mentorship program pairs successful men in the Denver community with boys who range in age from 10 to 17. Social activities and educational offerings allow boys the opportunity to grow and improve their performance in school. They also partake in fun outings, like taking a tour of the Broncos’ practice facility.
Ward wanted to incorporate this new aspect into his foundation because he’s been guided by a very important male role model his entire life: His father, Terrell Ward.
“My dad did everything a father was supposed to do,” T.J. said. “I wouldn’t be in this position I’m in today without him.”
Terrell played in the NFL as well. And, at 59, it looks like he could still play. The former Philadelphia Eagle who was drafted out of San Diego State in 1980 says a short NFL career helped him as a father.
“I had a three-year career and that was a blessing in disguise,” he said. “It allowed me to spend time with my kids and raise them properly.”
So, what was important to him in leading the way as a father?
“You need to have a positive influence in your life, but you also need someone to tell you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear,” he said. “Someone who just puts you on the right track. That’s what I tried to do with my kids.”
And it seems to have worked. Not only is T.J. a talent NFL star, but he’s a good person, too.
“He’s a very giving person; a very genuine person,” Terrell said. “He always looks to see if he can help somebody, and that comes just naturally to him.”
Much more naturally than golf.
Keep it up, Boss.